Classical 94.5 WNED’s Peter Hall Speaks With Vocalis’ Caroline Mallonee
Classical 94.5 WNED’s Peter Hall Speaks With Ola Gjeilo
Area Students to be Featured in Concert with Composer Ola Gjeilo
Calling all choral music enthusiasts.
Norwegian-born composer Ola Gjeilo will present a concert Sunday of his world-renowned pieces, including selections from his lyrical crossover album “Stone Rose” and its sequel “Piano Improvisations,” featuring the Vocalis Chamber Choir.
Gjeilo, who attended the Juilliard School in New York City, also will work with student musicians from Immaculata Academy, Hamburg High School and Lewiston-Porter High School at a workshop Monday at Hamburg High School.
Kathleen Bassett, musical director at Immaculata Academy and a member of Vocalis, describes this workshop as “a learning experience with Ola for young, local singers.”
Bassett, who is the director of NYSSMA Level VI Gold-winning chorus Vox Caeciliae, of Immaculata Academy, added: “There’s not another composer of his stature. The girls are very excited to attend this workshop.”
James Burritt, the director of Vocalis, said, “We are honored to welcome Ola Gjeilo to Buffalo.”
Students from Immaculata Academy’s Vox Caeciliae are as excited as their adult counterparts.
“His music is very simplistic, but yet very beautiful,” Angelina Giglio, a junior at Immaculata and two-year member of Vox Caeciliae said. “The harmonic quality gives it a rich, deep tone.” Angelina’s cousins, Anna and Christina Giglio, also members of Vox Caeciliae, echo the excitement.
“His pieces have a very rhythmic, beautiful tone,” Christina said.
“All of pieces are beautiful in their own way,” Anna said.
Vocalis Chamber Choir, founded in 2002, is a select ensemble of dedicated professional musicians and is committed to performing a cappella music of all eras. “The Music of Ola Gjeilo” will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday in Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 1080 Main St. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for students; doors are to open one half hour before performance.
Welcome to Buffalo, Ola Gjeilo!
“Spirit in Sound” on the Radio
Vocális director Jamie Burritt spoke with Classical 94.5 WNED’s Peter Hall about “Spirit in Sound.”
Our Latest CD Earned 3.5 Stars in The Buffalo News!
A Vocális Christmas
Vocális Chamber Choir
The Vocális Chamber Choir, an eminent Buffalo a cappella group, gives an annual Christmas concert at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum, and it’s always a beautiful event. This disc, arriving just in time for Christmas Day, showcases performances from 2011, 2012 and 2013. The recording has a bit of a grass-roots feel, with pauses for sporadic applause and occasional gaps between tracks. But the sound is beautiful. The acoustics in the Karpeles Museum treat the singers well, you feel their pristine virtuosity, and the singers’ enunciation is such that most of the words are distinct.
Highlights include a haunting performance of “O magnum mysterium” by Renaissance composer Tomas Luis de Victoria; the French “Noel nouvelet”; an energetic English carol, new to me, called “Past Three O’Clock”; and another zesty novelty, Andrejs Jansons’ “Ai, nama mamina.” And I loved the group’s traditional takes on a host of carols. There is no need to reinvent this music. “The Holly and the Ivy” is charming, with a lot of solo lines and other vocal derring-do. John Rutter’s sunny touch is perfect for “Silent Night” and “Deck the Hall.” There’s a cute “Carol of the Bells,” and Arthur Warrell’s euphoric arrangement of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” makes you want to toast that old chestnut.
– Mary Kunz Goldman
“A Vocális Christmas” at Karpeles Manuscript Museum
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Thanks to everyone who joined us for “A Vocális Christmas” at SS Peter & Paul Church in Williamsville and the Karpeles Manuscript Museum. It was a record-breaking crowd!
We’re grateful to Deborah Di Matteo and Northeast Mechanical for their concert sponsorship, and to the team of volunteers who helped create a memorable concert experience for us all.
Clarence Singer Excited About Holiday Performances
By Steven Jagord | Clarence Bee | November 19, 2014
Vocális Concert Exploring the Music of the Night
By Mary Kunz Goldman | News Staff Reporter | October 16, 2014
The singing group Vocális, fresh from its triumphant tour of England, is beginning its 13th season with two concerts this weekend called “Romantic Aspirations.” The program will embrace music from a variety of Romantic traditions. Brahms’ “Liebeslieder Waltzes” and an Evening Song by Josef Rheinberger show the richness of German Romanticism, as does music by Bruckner and Mendelssohn. Evening is a theme that dominates. The choir also is singing Saint-Saens’ “Calme des Nuits” and a song by Sir Arthur Sullivan, of Gilbert and Sullivan fame, called “The Long Day Closes.”
Jamie Burritt, Vocális’ director, described the concert as all about expression.
“These composers are expressing not only romantic love, but our deepest spiritual feelings, and our deepest fears,” he explained, announcing the program. “There is real beauty in the music’s honesty. Emotion is not meant to be hidden, but rather celebrated.”
James Burritt Talks About Romantic Music
Romantic music is much more than love songs, Vocális Chamber Choir’s Music Director James Burritt told WNED’s Peter Hall.
Listen to interview.
Buffalo Choir Vocális Bound for Britain – and Big Breakthrough
By Mary Kunz Goldman | News Staff Reporter | July 14, 2014
This summer, Buffalo’s hottest musical export could well be the a cappella singing group Vocális. The singers are bound for Britain, for a tour that peaks with a performance at the prestigious Cambridge Summer Music Festival.
As a kind of warm-up, the group is singing two Evensong services at St. Paul’s Cathedral in downtown Buffalo. The first is Wednesday, and the second is July 22. Both are at 7 p.m. and, because they are worship services, they are free.
They offer an excellent chance to catch the Vocális singers at a watershed moment in their 12-year history. The Cambridge festival concert, while richly deserved, was the result of serendipity, creativity and old-fashioned boldness.
Jamie Burritt, the director of Vocális, said the singers had been planning their first English tour, and the schedule took them into the festival’s orbit. “We had booked a venue in Cambridge just for a concert,” Burritt said. “The director of music said, ‘You should try to get on the official festival schedule.’ I knew that would be a tough go, seeing that we’re this random choir from Buffalo.”
Luckily, he tried anyway.
“We put forward our best recording,” he said. “And we created a unique packaging. So that when it arrived at their desk, it stood out. We worked with a woman from the Roycroft who creates her own books from scratch – paper, binding, everything. It arrived looking like a little package. It was all this fine craft paper with our information inside. The CD sat in this little drawer. It was super cool. It made an impression.
“That got their attention. But obviously, they wouldn’t have said yes if they didn’t think the quality of the music was there.”
Vocális’ concert will take place Aug. 1 in the Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs, a Catholic church that commemorates the Catholics executed during the reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.
The concert is titled, “Journey in Song: American and European Choral Music, Past and Present.” It includes not only music by Renaissance composers Palestrina and William Byrd, but also music by Samuel Barber and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
“And Dolly Parton!” the Cambridge website exults.
The Parton song is “Light of a Clear Blue Morning,” arranged by choral master Craig Hella Johnson.
“They asked us to do a program with American music on it,” Burritt said. In addition to Parton, Vocalis also will be singing some hymns and spirituals, as well as Stephen Foster’s “Nelly Bly.”
The rest of Vocalis’ British tour looks like something out of “Downton Abbey.” One concert takes place in the 1839 Southwark Cathedral,near Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. Vocális also is singing at the awe-inspiring Ely Cathedral, built in the 7th century by Benedictine monks. The tour ends with a Sunday Eucharist service at Old Royal Naval Chapel in Greenwich.
In planning the tour, Burritt acknowledged the invaluable assistance of Drew Cantrill, the British former music director at St. Paul’s in Buffalo. As a former St. Paul’s choirboy, Burritt knew his way around the Anglican church culture.
“You can’t just call Ely and say, ‘Can we do a concert?’” he said. But the church doors open, he explained, when a choir offers to sing at services. “Then you’re there, and you can sing in these amazing spaces. You sing for them, and you’re getting the opportunity to sing with these glorious acoustics. It works really well from both sides – all these cathedrals, this tradition of Evensong in English cathedrals. It opens up opportunities for you to sing in these spaces.”
The English appearances, particularly the Cambridge concert, will go a long way toward helping the singers of Vocális make their voices heard.
“It’s been a real sort of journey,” Burritt said. “The past four or five years have been great for us. This year looks like a nice verification of all the hard work – not just by me, but everyone involved. It’s a really great sort of feather in our cap, for our first 12 years.”
James Burritt Talks About Upcoming Trip to England
Buffalo’s Vocális Chamber Choir has been invited to be part of the 2014 Cambridge Summer Music Festival and they’ll be singing works by Western New York composers in some of England’s finest old cathedrals. Music Director James Burritt spoke with WNED’s Peter Hall before the trip.
Listen to interview.